Mass. plans to sup­port, wel­come Puerto Ri­cans

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By CHRIS VIL­LANI

The Bay State is gear­ing up to host Puerto Ri­cans flee­ing their hur­ri­cane-rav­aged home while pre­par­ing to send mil­lions of dol­lars and first re­spon­ders to the is­land.

A Mass Na­tional Guard com­mu­ni­ca­tions team is also be­ing mo­bi­lized to help re­store satel­lite-based data and mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Gov. Char­lie Baker’s of­fice an­nounced last night.

The six-mem­ber team could soon be joined by bilin­gual law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, the Mas­sachusetts Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency added.

It’s just the start of the as­sis­tance from Mas­sachusetts.

“Bos­ton is go­ing to be the cen­ter point here of rais­ing the money and the sup­plies,” Bos­ton Mayor Martin J. Walsh said yes­ter­day af­ter an­nounc­ing a fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive at the an­nual El Mundo His­panic Her­itage Break­fast.

Walsh said the fund, called “Mas­sachusetts for Puerto Rico,” is aim­ing to raise at least $2 mil­lion to aid the dev­as­tated is­land com­mon­wealth and chal­lenged the Bos­ton busi­ness com­mu­nity to step up and sup­port it.

New­ton Mayor Setti War­ren, a Demo­crat who is also run­ning for gover­nor, called on Baker to “de­ploy the Na­tional Guard” to the is­land.

War­ren cam­paign spokesman Kevin Franck said of the six-mem­ber squad dis­patched: “Is that a joke?”

Ear­lier Baker said those seek­ing re­lief here will be met “at the air­port” and given help to qual­ify for fed­eral emer­gency re­lief in what he called a “soft land­ing for them as they deal with this ter­ri­ble tragedy.”

GETTY IM­AGES

WAIT­ING FOR HELP: Hur­ri­cane sur­vivors watch as Puerto Ri­can Na­tional Guards­men pre­pare to de­liver food and wa­ter from their he­li­copter yes­ter­day in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Maria in Lares, Puerto Rico.

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